Chairs were out early on July 2, eager as their owners to get a good viewing site for the Fourth of July parade.

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…that the strike by the International Union of Operating Engineers affects some projects in Evanston, according to information provided by Eric Palmer, community information coordinator for the City. Here’s the scoop: Construction has stopped on Dodge between Lake and Simpson; the project on Dodge between Dempster and Lee and the one on Dempster between Fowler and McDaniel were completed before the strike began.

The project along Orrington is not an Evanston project, says Utilities Department Director Dave Stoneback. It’s a Metropolitican Water Reclamation District (MWRD) project that’s occurring here. That project won’t be affected, he says, because MWRD apparently has a “you-can’t-strike” clause in their contracts. The roof on the Morton Civic Center will not be repaired for a while. Most of these now inchoate projects are not left exposed to the elements; the trench on Dodge is filled in with gravel and there is boarding over the exposed parts, according to the City.

Traffic signal improvements have all stopped, except for work being performed by engineers, also according to the City. Routine projects performed by City crews will likely continue, if the workers are not in these unions and if materials are available (since some plants are closed). The City says we have enough cold-patch material to handle most routine maintenance. The workers are striking for higher pay to cover the increased costs of health insurance.

… that, even though 6 a.m. on July 1 was the earliest legal time for folks to stake out their Fourth of July parade-viewing spots, some chairs, ropes and blankets were already on the parkways by 5:30 a.m.

… that we’re going to let AT&T place “utility cabinets” along the Union Pacific embankment wall south of Grove and east of Elmwood – AT&T is to provide landscaping there.

… that the police department continues its participation in the national “Click it or Ticket” seat belt enforcement mobilization – “with a new emphasis on convincing more motorists to buckle up – day and night.” According to the EPD, the risk of a fatal crash actually goes up significantly at night.

… that our Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky, received a 2010 Safety Leader Award by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. She received the award for “her exemplary leadership on federal auto and highway safety legislation. … She fought to enact the Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2008.” Among other things, the Act requires “power windows to detect and reverse direction so that children aren’t trapped or injured” … and “all vehicles to have a brake interlock to prevent vehicle roll-away crashes.” It also requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue safety rules to prevent “backovers” and “to give drivers a means by which to detect children in blind spots behind cars.” A report released last month by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety showed that federal and state highway safety laws enacted over the past 20 years have saved over 85,000 lives and over $600 billion in costs. 

… that this may be one of the library’s peregrine falcons. Landscape architect Julie Siegel snapped this photo in Northwest Evanston.

… that when the strike is over, we’ll be making about $2 million of repairs and refurbishments to the Civic Center, with roof and carpet-tile replacement and asbestos abatement. Some staff will be temporarily relocated during the, well, cleanup.

… that Council has approved continued maintenance and support for our geographic information system, thankfully, since the City comprises about 32 square miles and we wouldn’t want anyone to get lost. On the other hand, it’s not just automated vehicles that can be tracked. Recycling and new garbage carts have tracking chips in them, so a wayard cart  may still be found.

… that it’s sidewalk chalk time again. Check out the sun on page 1.

… that the City plans to sell some of our old vehicles through a public auction in Lake County (something we typically do). Most of the vehicles are in “poor” or just slightly better condition.

… that a  Five Guys fast-food restauant may open on Church Street in downtown Evanston.

… that Bagel Art is moving from Chicago Avenue just around the corner to 615 Dempster St.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that nothing really gets lost at the beach. Stuff just waits patiently in the sand for the owners to show up again.

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. Don’t forget that the Ethnic Arts Festival is coming up.